Church of England Diocese of Birmingham St. Paul Blackheath

A Remembrance Sunday Service 8th November 2020

A Remembrance Sunday Service

A gathering in silence

God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 46.1

I lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence will my help come?

My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121.1-2

Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,

they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary

they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40.31

What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6.8


We meet in the presence of God.

We commit ourselves to work

in penitence and faith

for reconciliation between the nations,

that all people may, together,

live in freedom, justice and peace.


We pray for all

who in bereavement, disability and pain

continue to suffer the consequences of

fighting and terror.


We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow

those whose lives,

in world wars and conflicts past and present,

have been given and taken away.


REMEMBERING

They shall grow not old,

as we that are left grow old;

age shall not weary them,

nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun

and in the morning,

we will remember them.

We will remember them.


We keep a two-minute silence


SILENCE


Following the silence we pray:

Ever-living God

we remember those whom you have gathered from the storm of war

into the peace of your presence;

may that same peace calm our fears,

bring justice to all peoples

and establish harmony among the nations,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


A Hymn

O God, our help in ages past,

our hope for years to come,

our shelter from the stormy blast,

and our eternal home;


Beneath the shadow of thy throne

thy saints have dwelt secure;

sufficient is thine arm alone,

and our defence is sure.


Before the hills in order stood,

or earth received her frame,

from everlasting thou art God,

to endless years the same.


A thousand ages in thy sight

are like an evening gone;

short as the watch that ends the night

before the rising sun.


Time, like an ever-rolling stream,

bears all our years away;

they fly forgotten, as a dream

dies at the opening day.


O God, our help in ages past,

our hope for years to come,

be thou our guard while troubles last,

and our eternal home.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) alt.


Listening for the word from God

The Lord's Coming

13 Our friends, we want you to know the truth about those who have died, so that you will not be sad, as are those who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will take back with Jesus those who have died believing in him.

15 What we are teaching you now is the Lord's teaching: we who are alive on the day the Lord comes will not go ahead of those who have died. 16 There will be the shout of command, the archangel's voice, the sound of God's trumpet, and the Lord himself will come down from heaven. Those who have died believing in Christ will rise to life first; 17 then we who are living at that time will be gathered up along with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. 18 So then, encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4.13-end


The Beatitudes

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he sat down his

disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the

kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of

evil against you falsely on my account.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they

persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew 5:1-12


Talk

What challenging times we live in, as we are buffeted rather like a ship on a restless sea. Each wave that breaks shaking us and tugging away at what earths, grounds and anchors us in a safe place, a safe harbor.

For the first time churches are unable to offer our familiar and traditional pattern of marking Remembrance Sunday. This, the consequence of intensifying our public health efforts in the face of a global pandemic. This, another battle we are engaged in, although rather different from the many conflicts that take center stage on Remembrance Sunday. A moment when we remember the sacrifices of so many and particularly our armed forces, who gave themselves, putting their lives on the line in the pursuit of justice and peace. A model of service and sacrifice that continues to the present day.

There will be a whole range of feelings stirred up, because we cannot mark Remembrance Sunday in a traditional way. But remembrance is about more than a particular content or format. It is about tuning our hearts and minds to the lessons of history. It is about the discipline and practice of not forgetting the past. Something that we can do in an infinite number of creative ways.

This year we are being encouraged to stay safe and to mark Remembrance Sunday from our door steps. Perhaps with additional messages and symbols in our windows, to show that we have remembered and not forgotten. So let me encourage you to be creative and innovative as you remember the sacrifices of so many on this Remembrance Sunday 2020.

One description that we could give to the bible is that among many things it is a book of remembrance. It is a book of remembrance that tells the world about God the creator and architect of all that we see and the deep love that God has for all of creation. Here in Holy Scripture the nature of God is revealed. Here our origins are described and here the promise made to Abraham is recorded. Here we find multiple invitations to love. To love God, to love ourselves, to love our neighbours and in so doing to be practitioners of justice and peace in our world.

Here under the leadership of Moses we find an account of Israel’s delivery from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. Something that tells us so much about the nature of God and the values and principles that underpin the Kingdom of Heaven. And then after their rescue and freedom from slavery, as a reminder, God instructs his people to institute an act of annual remembrance. A Passover, a discipline, a spiritual practice, a form of counting your blessings that obliges this people to remember their deliverance and to remember God’s righteous acts.

So many times, in different places throughout the bible God’s people are instructed to pass on these legacy stories to each succeeding generation, to their children and their children’s children. So that something profoundly important and life giving is not forgotten and lost. We remember so that we do not forget and lose sight of what we have previously received.

Our sacramental service of Holy Communion is always an act of remembrance amongst many other things. It is a dramatic, living act of remembrance that reminds us that God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not die but have everlasting life. The broken bread, the wine poured out pointing dramatically to that moment of crucifixion when God experienced the death of his Son in order that all creation might be free. The central invitation of the service is always to take the bread and to drink the wine in remembrance of me. So remembrance, is central to what it means to be human and to be in relationship with one another and with God.

Remembrance, is also a key theme from our first bible reading, Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. Here Paul’s reminder is about the resurrection and eternal life. He writes

“For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died” (verse 14).

So do not grieve without hope for your brothers and sisters in Christ who have died, he says, instead hold fast to the faith that you have received and be encouraged. For on the last day when Christ returns all the dead in Christ will arise and together we shall be with the Lord for ever.

There is so much to remember and we are blessed when we do so. Learning lessons from the past, but also hoping for a better tomorrow.

Revd. Mike Sermon Vicar St Paul’s Blackheath


Praying together

Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of conflict,

and ask that God may give us peace:

for the service men and women

who have died in the violence of war,

each one remembered by and known to God;

May God give peace

God give peace


for those who love them in death as in life,

offering the distress of our grief

and the sadness of our loss;

May God give peace

God give peace

for all members of the armed forces

who are in danger this day,

remembering family, friends

and all who pray for their safe return;

May God give peace

God give peace


for civilian women, children and men

whose lives are disfigured by war or terror,

calling to mind in penitence

the anger and hatreds of humanity;

May God give peace

God give peace


for peace-makers and peace-keepers,

who seek to keep this world secure and free;

May God give peace

God give peace


for all who bear the burden and privilege of leadership,

political, military and religious;

asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve

in the search for reconciliation and peace.

May God give peace

God give peace


O God of truth and justice,

we hold before you those whose memory we cherish,

and those whose names we will never know.

Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world,

and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm.

As we honour the past,

may we put our faith in your future;

for you are the source of life and hope,

now and for ever.

Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come;

thy will be done on earth

as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

and forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive those who trespass

against us.

And lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom, the power,

and the glory

for ever and ever.

Amen.


Responding in hope and commitment

The Kohima Epitaph:

When you go home

tell them of us and say,

for your tomorrow

we gave our today.


The act of commitment:

Let us commit ourselves to responsible living and faithful service.

Will you strive for all that makes for peace?

We will

Will you seek to heal the wounds of war?

We will

Will you work for a just future for all humanity?

We will


Merciful God, we offer to you the fears in

us that have not yet been cast out by love:

May we accept the hope you have placed

in the hearts of all people,

And live lives of justice, courage and mercy;

through Jesus Christ our risen Redeemer.

Amen.


The National Anthem

God save our gracious Queen,

Long live our noble Queen,

God save the Queen.

Send her victorious,

Happy and glorious,

Long to reign over us:

God save the Queen.


The final blessing:

God grant to the living grace,

to the departed rest,

to the Church, the Queen, the Commonwealth and all people,

unity, peace and concord,

and to us and all God’s servants,

life everlasting.

And the blessing of God Almighty,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit

be among you and remain with you always.

Amen.

Copyright Church of England Liturgical Commission: Common Worship: Times and Seasons & Common Worship: Festivals ISBN 1 00 000 581